After 15 years as the head football coach for Allatoona High School, Gary Varner announced earlier this year that he would be retiring. The first question that came to mind for Matt Jones, North Cobb Christian School’s head football coach, was whether or not Varner would consider joining the coaching staff at NCCS.
After an illustrious tenure at Allatoona -- which included clinching 129 career victories, making it to 13 consecutive state playoffs, securing the state championship in 2015, being the state runners-up in 2019, and being named Cobb County Team of the Decade by the MDJ in 2020 -- Coach Varner decided to step down for health reasons. So when Coach Jones reached out to him about the possibility of an assistant coaching position at NCCS, the opportunity to work in a supportive role in a more intimate environment was a perfect fit for Coach Varner. He will finish out the year at Allatoona and then come onboard as assistant head coach (AHC) at NCCS.
“This new role is a chance to pull back but also stay in a sport that I love and continue to make a difference,” says Coach Varner. “I look forward to helping Coach Jones in any way I can.”
As for Coach Jones, he looks forward to the wisdom and experience that Coach Varner will bring to a talented young team at NCCS. “Coach Varner and I have known one another for about five years, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him,” says Coach Jones. “He is humble and hardworking, but the best thing about Gary is that it’s never about him. It’s about other people. He wants to win, but to do it the right way. At the end of the day, he has great Christian faith.”
As AHC, Coach Varner will bring strategy, especially on the offensive side of the ball. “Gary will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our offense, and he will bring wisdom that both our staff and our players will be able to lean on,” says Coach Jones.
Coach Varner will join a strong roster of coaches at NCCS, which, in addition to Head Coach Matt Jones, includes PJ Hughes as defensive coordinator; Bill Parker, defensive line coach; Hunter Poole, defensive back and special teams coach; Armani Martin, wide receiver coach; Mack Baul, tight end coach; Raymond Priester, running back coach; and Zack Shelton, linebacker coach.
“What I think attracts high-caliber coaches to NCCS is that we really do have a brotherhood and a family atmosphere,” says Coach Jones. “Truly, our kids know one another. Our eleventh and twelfth graders are paired with our middle schoolers. They go to our 5th/6th and 7th/8th football games and watch the younger athletes play. NCCS is just much different than any other school where I have been. Everyone talks about family, but I feel like here, we really have the ability to build that, and to build it on the backbone of our common faith in Christ.”
Coach Varner will join the NCCS Eagles for spring football, working with the team through the summer to be ready for Friday Night Lights come fall. “I’m very excited about the size of the program and about the school in general. I like the fact that it’s intimate,” he says. “I’m excited to get to know the kids and to get going as part of the team.”
Welcome to the Eagle Family, Coach Varner!!